Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf S. (gr. II)
(CAN-II , 12f ,)
Sky Classic Heavenly Ballerina , by Conquistador Cielo
BWilliam Sorokolit, ON.; OWilliam A. Sorokolit, Sr.; TDarwin D. Banach
(DK B/ h,
Gone West Colonial Play , by Pleasant Colony
BR. S. Evans, KY.; ORobert S. Evans; TMichael W. Dickinson
(DK B/ g,
Langfuhr Muskrat Suzie , by Vice Regent
BGustav Schickedanz, ON.; OKingfield Racing Stable, Ltd.; TCatherine Day Phillips
Sky Conqueror prevailed in the Northern Dancer Breeders’ Cup Turf Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine for a second straight year for his fourth stakes win, fifth win from his last eight starts, and seventh victory overall. The 2006 Canadian champion grass male appears to be on track to defend his title with a grade I triumph and a grade II placing to his credit in 2007.
The 2007 Northern Dancer, with a purse of $666,013, had a tepid early pace over the firm turf with opening fractions of :25.45, :50.75, and 1:14.79. Sky Conqueror was held in reserve early in the race, which was one lap around Woodbine’s expansive 11¼2 mile E.P. Taylor turf course, before he began a strong stretch run under jockey Edgar Prado to win going away by 11¼2 lengths.
In his second start of 2007, Sky Conqueror edged Brilliant to win the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (gr. IT) by a nose at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day. Sky Conqueror was then pointed towards the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park but tied up before the race and was scratched.
Instead, Sky Conqueror returned to Ontario for his next race, where he ended up on the other end of a photo finish, losing by a nose to Eccentric in the King Edward Breeders’ Cup Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine, a race that he won in 2006. The King Edward was his last start prior to the Northern Dancer.
Sky Conqueror races for his breeder, William Sorokolit, who bred the son of Sky Classic in Ontario. Sky Conqueror’s sire line traces back to the race’s namesake as Sky Classic is a grandson of Northern Dancer.
Sorokolit also bred Sky Conqueror’s first two dams, Heavenly Ballerina and Irish Ballerina. Both were durable racehorses who usually raced on turf.
Heavenly Ballerina’s 2005 foal by Strike a Gold Mine died and the mare was barren in 2006. On Feb. 20, she delivered a full sister to Sky Conqueror. Heavenly Ballerina is in foal to Johannesburg and is boarded at Clearbrook Farm near Paris, Ky.
Sky Conqueror is named for his sire, Sky Classic, and his broodmare sire, Conquistador Cielo, whose name translated from Spanish to English means Sky Conqueror.
Sky Classic is the sire of 52 stakes winners, including other 2007 added-money winner Carolina Sky. The champion son of Nijinsky II stood the 2007 season at Josephine Abercrombie’s Pin Oak Stud near Versailles, Ky. His 2007 fee was $12,500.—J.S.F.